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Publication numberUS3450036 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 17, 1969
Filing dateNov 3, 1966
Priority dateNov 3, 1966
Publication numberUS 3450036 A, US 3450036A, US-A-3450036, US3450036 A, US3450036A
InventorsBroersma Robert J
Original AssigneeRoyer Foundry & Machine Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Half shell
US 3450036 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 17, 1969 R. J. BRoERsMA 3,450,036

HALF SHELL Filed Nov. 5. 196e sheet E @"if?? Il( 1 l"lm N I ION l l l s i @E N# INVENToR /O/{ d. 5605/95/74 June 17, 1969 R, J, BRQERSMA 1 3,450,036

HALF SHELL Filed Nov. s. 196e sheet 'f3 of s /fGA / LJ IML INVENTOR I `Fune 17, 1969 R. x. BROERSMA HALF SHELL Filed Nov. :5.V 1966 Sheet INVENroR ,055,57 c/ 5/6'0655/74 .INI N BY 7M Mme/V05 United States arent C 3,450,036 HALF SHELL Robert J. Broersma, Spring Lake Township, Ottawa County, Mich., assignor, by mesne assignments, to Royer Foundry and Machine Co., Kingston, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Nov. 3, 1966, Ser. No. 591,919 Int. Cl. B30b 7/04, 1/32; B65b 13/20 U.S. Cl. 100-232 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A packing machine having a casing formed of at least two acruate sections, one of the sections being fixed and the other section mounted above the fixed section for pivotal movement toward and away from the fixed section. The casing sections together form a cylinder where` by packing material placed in the casing is shaped into a generally cylindrical form. A pusher element pushes the packing material and the nursery object packed therein out of the casing. Intermittent feed means, such as a reciprocable shuttle, transports a measured charge of packing material from a supply hopper to the casing. Guide means provided adjacent the upper casing section guides same into mating relationship with the fixed section and also acts as a receiving means for a portion of the packing material deposited into the casing whereby the movable section folds the packing material over the nursery object when t-he casing sections are closed.

This application is an improvement in the machine disclosed in my copending applications Ser. No. 243,044 tiled Dec. 7, 1962, now Patent No. 3,284,981, and Ser. No. 578,807, tiled Aug. 31, 1966, now Patent No. 3,426,359.

This invention relates to a packing machine and, more particularly, relates to a machine for packing items of nursery stock into packages for storage, handling and merchandising.

In a machine intended for the same general purposes as herein contemplated, which machine is disclosed in my copending application Ser. No. 243,044, there is provided means for supplying dirt or other packing material to a shuttle, the shuttle then places a measured amount of the packing material into a plurality of open clamshell like casing sections, a plant is arranged thereon, the casing sections are closed to form the packing material around the plant roots, and then a ram moves the packing material and plant together out of the closed casing and into a container, such as a pot or a bag.

This machine works very successfully but, in a continuing effort to improve the same, certain additional features have been developed which provide substantially improved operation under certain operating conditions.

Particularly, in the earlier machine, the casing sections are of generally acuate shape which are fastened by continuous hinge members at the lower edges thereof. When the casing sections are opened outwardly to receive a measured amount of the packing material, the hinge is exposed to the packing material as it is deposited into the casing section. Generally, the packing material causes no clogging of the hinge structure. However, certain types of packing material have a tendency to become trapped in the hinge structure, thus requiring a greater amount of power to open and close the casing sections. Furthermore, such a collection of packing material in the hinge requires that the casing sections and the associated hinge structure be periodically cleaned to insure proper machine performance. Accordingly, in the present development there is provided a pair of casing sections which cooperate in a manner so as to require no hinge interconnections between the casing sections or any other related structure.

A further problem encountered with the previous machine was that some or all of the casing parts upon which the packing media rested were moved when the casing was closed and this sometimes shifted the packing media and the plant more than was entirely desirable. Accordingly, in the present development there is provoded a lower semi-circular casing section in which the packing media can be deposited by the shuttle but which does not move during the closing of the remainder of the casing and hence the undesired movement of the central portion of the packing material does not occur.

Another problem encountered with other previously known machines was that the packing material was generally deposited between the casing sections in a single operation, a suiiicient quantity of material being deposited to fill the entire sections, the plant then being placed on the packing material and the casing sections closed to form the packing material around the plant. These machines encountered the problem that the movement of the packing material when the casing sections were closed caused the plant to be displaced from the center of the casing. Other machines, to overcome this problem utilized a two-step operation whereby a portion of the packing material was initially deposited into the casing area, the plant was then positioned on the packing material, and then an additional amount of packing material was deposited over the top of the plant before the casing sections were closed. These machines are successful in maintaining the plant centered relative to the casing but require a two-step operation for depositing the packing material therein. Accordingly, in the present development, there is provided a lower semi-circular casing section having fixed flanges thereon, the packing material being deposited in the lower casing section and onto the flanges by the shuttle in a single-step operation, the plant then being deposited on the packing material in the lower casing section and the movable casing sections then being closed to scrape the packing material olf the flanges and fold the same over the top of the plant so as to maintain the plant in the desired central portion of the casing.

A still further problem encountered lwith the previous machine was that the casing sections were actuated by a power means located beneath the sections, the power means generally consisting of a pneumatic cylinder coupled to the casing sections by means of a yoke or linkage. However, the yoke or linkage utilized was generally of xed proportions due to its location relative to the frame and thus did not permit the relative positions of the members nor the forces generated thereby to be readily adjusted. Accordingly, in the present development, there is provided a power cylinder which is coupled to the casing sections by means of a linkage which is readily adjustable so as to permit the mechanical advantage of the linkage to be adjusted as desired, thus permitting the movement of the casing section to be accurately controlled.

Another problem encountered with the previous machine was that the power means was located directly beneath the casing section and was therefore exposed to a considerable amount of contamination due to packing media either falling through or spilling over the casing section. The power cylinder thus had to be periodically cleaned and the seals periodically replaced due to the large amount of packing material which collects in this area. Accordingly, in the present development there is provided a power cylinder which is preferably located above or to the side of the casing sections and is therefore not exposed to the packing material which spills out thereof. The power cylinder is thus in a much cleaner environment and requires much less maintenance than in the previous machine.

Accordingly, the major objects of the present invention include:

(l) To provide an improved machine for packing material around the roots of a plant and then further packing same into a container, such as a pot.

(2) To provide a machine, as aforesaid, which is similar in purpose as the machine shown in my application Ser. No. 243,044 and application Ser. No. 576,807, but which is easier to construct and is easy to maintain.

(3) To provide an improved packing machine, as aforesaid, in which the casing for holding the item to be packed and for shaping the packing material around the item is comprised of at least two casing sections, one of which is ixed, forming an upwardly opening receptacle for receiving the packing material and the item to be packed, the other section being reciprocably movable into engagement with the rst section so as to form substantially a cylinder and so moving to the second position to force the packing material around the item and shape the packing material into a substantially cylindrical shape.

(4) To provide an improved packing machine, as aforesaid, in which the lower casing section remains stationary while the upper casing section is moved from a rst position out of engagement to a second position into engagement with the first casing section.

(5) To provide an improved packing machine, as aforesaid, in which the movable casing section is positively moved `to and from a closed position by power-operated means.

(6) To provide an improved packing machine, as aforesaid, in which the movable casing section is positively movable by means of a power source which is mounted above the lower casing section.

(7) To provide an improved packing machine, as aforesaid, in which the upper movable casing section is connected to the power cylinder by means of a linkage which permits the force applied to the movable casing section to be readily adjusted.

(8) To provide an improved packing machine, as aforesaid, in which the casing sections are moved together in abutting relationship during the operation thus eliminating the need for any hinges or equivalent structure therebetween.

(9) To provide an improved packing machine, as aforesaid, in which the packing material is deposited into the casing section in a single operation while accurately maintaining the plant in a central position within the casing when the casing sections are closed.

(l0) To provide an improved packing machine, as aforesaid, which retains the advantages of the machine described in my application Ser. No. 243,044 and Ser. No. 576,807, and which has additional operational advantages.

Other objects and purposes of this invention will be apparent to persons acquainted with machines of this type upon reading the following specification and inspecting the accompanying drawings.

In the drawings:

FIGURE l is a side elevational view of an improved packing machine according to the present invention.

FIGURE 2 is a top-vertical view of the apparatus taken along the line II--II of FIGURE 3, the apparatus being shown in a position after the container C has been filled.

FIGURE 3 is a sectional view of a preferred form of the invention taken along the line III-III of FIGURE l showing the casing sections in a closed position with the shuttle retracted into the hopper.

FIGURE 4 is a sectional view similar to FIGURE 3 showing the casing sections in an open position with lthe shuttle extended from the hopper over the lower casing section.

FIGURE 5 is a sectional view similar to FIGURE 3 illustrating a second embodiment of the invention showing the casing sections in a closed position with the shuttle retracted into the hopper.

FIGURE 6 is a sectional view of the embodiment shown in FIGURE 5 with the casing sections in an open position.

FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary view showing placement of a pot on the apparatus embodying the invention.

FIGURE S is a sectional view taken on line VIII-VIII of FIGURE 5.

General description The packing machine according to the present invention comprises a casing formed of at least two arcuate sections, one of the sections being iixedly mounted to the machine, the other section mounted above the iixed section for pivotal movement toward and away from the iixed section. The casing sections can be brought together to form substantially a cylinder whereby the item of nursery stock and the packing material placed in the casing are shaped into a generally cylindrical form. A pusher element is provided to push the packing material and the object packed therein out of the casing and thence out of the machine. The hopper for supplying the packing material is disposed above the casing. Intermittent feed means, such as a reciprocable shuttle or feed drawer is provided for transporting a measured charge of packing material from the hopper to the casing. A suitable funnel and guide structure is provided between the feed drawer and the casing to guide movement of the packing material into the casing sections. Guide means is also provided adjacent the upper movable casing section to guide the movable section into proper mating relationship with the fixed section. The latter guide means also acts as a receiving means for a portion of the packing material deposited into the casing whereby the movable section folds the packing material over the plant when the casing sections are closed.

Detailed description In the following description, certain terminology will be used for convenience and reference which will be recognized for convenience only, and is not limiting. For example, the terms rightward and leftward will refer to directions to the right or left as appearing in the drawings in connection with which said terminology is used. The terms upward and downward will refer vto directions with respect to the apparatus in its normal position in use. The terms inward and outward will refer to directions toward and away from the geometric center of the apparatus. Such terminology also will include derivatives of said words above mentioned as well as words of similar import.

Referring first to the drawings, there is provided a table 1 supported on any convenient frame indicated only schematically at 2 and 3, the same being arranged to stand upon the iioor or any convenient support. Supported upon such table is a plate 4 which in turn supports an invert channel member 8 whose anges are affixed to the plate 4, such as by welding. A pair of end plates 9 and 11 are aflixed to the opposite ends of said channel 8 and extend upwardly therefrom.

A pair of substantially hemi-cylindrical casing members 12 and 13 are arranged between the end plates 9 and 11 for relative movement therebetween. The lower casing section 12 is generally fixed relative to the machine here by being connected to the end plates 9 and 11 by any suitable means, such as by welding. The lower casing section 12 is preferably formed as a hemi-circular member, with a ange 14 extending from one edge thereof. The upper casing section 13 is mounted for pivotal movement above the xed section, the movable section being Iguided by the upper surface of the flange 14. Movement of the upper casing section to the closed position causes the upper section 13 to be brought into abutting relationship with the lower fixed section 12. The casing sections are shown in a closed position in FIGURE 3 while FIGURE 4 shows the casing sections in an open position.

A linkage means is provided for moving the casing halves between the open and closed positions, one preferred form of the linkage means being shown in FIG- URES 3 and 4. The linkage is provided with a bell crank 17 having a first leg 18 fixedly attached to the upper movable casing section 13. The bell crank has a second leg 19 and is provided with an intermediate pivot 21 to mount the bell crank relative to the machine frame. The leg 19 may be coupled to any convenient power means such as a power cylinder 22 which may be either penumatic or hydraulic. The power cylinder 22 has a piston rod 23 extending therefrom which is pivotally connected at 24 to the leg 19. The upper end of the power cylinder 22 has trunnions 27 which permits the power cylinder to be pivotally mounted relative to the frame.

Energization of power cylinder 22 in the upward direction as shown in FIGURE 4 causes bell crank I17 to oscillate in a clockwise direction about pivot 21 and thus cause the casing sections to be closed. The pivotal movement of bell crank 17 also causes power cylinder 22 to be oscillated about its mounting, which oscillation is accommodated by means of the trunnions 27. Suitable limit switches (not shown) can be iixedly mounted on the machine such as on the ange 14 or on the end plates 9 or 11 to coact or cooperate with the piston rod or the bell crank so as to control the stroke extremities of the movable casing section if desired. The flange 14 of the fixed casing section 12 is preferably formed with an upper cylindrical surface 16, which surface is generated with pivot 21 as its center. The lower edge 31 of the upper casing section 13 slides upon the upper surface 16 during the reciprocable movement of the section so as to push any packing material deposited on the flange into and over the packing material deposited into the semicircular portion of the lower casing section 12. The flange y14 is additionally provided with a central slot 29 to accommodate the leg 18 when the same is moved from the open to the closed position as shown in FIG- URE 3.

Any convenient means for urging the casing sections 12 and 13 into the open position may be provided. As shown, the power cylinder 22 is double acting and is thus energized in the opposite direction to drive the piston rod outwardly to open the casing sections. However, any other suitable means such as springs or the like could be utilized for opening the casing sections since the only load encountered during the opening operation is the weight of the piston and the associated casing section and the friction within the power linkage.

As shown in FIGURE 3, leg 19 is provided with a plurality of holes 28 so as to permit the leverage of the bell crank to be adjustable. The power cylinder 22 can thus be pivotally connected to any of the provided openings so as to obtain the desired stroke and force characteristics. However, any other suitable means could be utilized for connecting the power cylinder to the bell crank. For example, the power cylinder 22 could be fixedly mounted relative to the frame and the piston rod 23 coupled to the bell crank leg 19 by means of a pinand-slot connection therebetween.

A circular opening 33 is provided through the end plate 9 of approximately the same size and coaxial with the interior diameter of the cylinder formed by the casing sections 12 and 13 when the same are closed with respect to each other. A guide cylinder 34 is affixed rigidly to the end plate 9 coaxial with said opening 33, the leftward or discharge end of said guide member 34 being shaped in any of many ways for facilitating the discharge of the material from said guide member into a bag or other container indicated in broken lines at C.

An opening 36 is provided in the end plate 11 and connects with a circular opening 37 located centrally thereof,

the opening 37 having a diameter substantially equal to and coaxial with the internal diameter of the casing section 12 afxed thereto. A pusher 38 is provided with a radius slightly' smaller than that of the opening 37 but nevertheless capable of clearing the same only slightly as it reciprocates and thereby passes through the end plate 11. Said pusher 38 may, if desired, be of a single or multipart construction. Pusher 38 is provided with an upwardly opening slot 39, the lower edge of which defines an arc of radius slightly larger than the radius of the stem to be packed. The pusher 38 is removably secured to a rod 41 which is mounted on a slide 42, said slide reciprocating on a guide member 43 which is supported by brackets 44 and 46 rigidly mounted on the table 1. The rod 41 is reciprocated by any convenient means such as a plunger 48 of a suitable power cylinder 47. Preferably, said power cylinder 47 will be an air cylinder but this is a matter of choice.

Any convenient hopper means 50` may be provided above the casing sections and may be operated either manually or automatically for dispensing packing material into said lower casing section 12 when desired. In the embodiment illustrated, the hopper is stationarily supported on the frame, being vertically sidewardly offset from the end plates 9 and 11, but being located in lateral alignment therewith. The hopper is provided with an opening 54 through which a reciprocating trap device 53 is extendable. Said trap 53 is provided with an open portion 56 for defining a measured quantity having a solid shuttle 57 for closing the opening 54 when same extends therethrough. If desired, plate-like spacers may be secured in the feed drawer to adjust the volumetric capacity of the opening 56 therein. The lower side of the feed drawer 53 is closed by wall 59 when the drawer is directly underneath the hopper S0. A power cylinder, such as an air cylinder 58, is provided for reciprocating the trap 53. While any convenient responsive means may be used, a fluid pressure switch 60 is provided to be actuated by the slide 42 when the same is in its retracted position (rightward in FIGURE 1) whereby to energize the cylinder 58 for conveying packing material from the hopper 50 into the casing section 12 when the casing sections are in their open position. A second pressure fluid switch (not shown) may be provided for operation when the casing sections are in their closed position so as to energize the cylinder 47 and cause plunger 48 to move leftwardly (as seen in FIGURE l) for purposes as set out further hereinafter. When power cylinder S8 is energized to move the feed drawer to a position directly above the casing section 12, the packing material contained within the feed drawer drops by gravity into the open casing section 12.

As shown in FIGURE 3, a pair of spaced-apart side walls 63 and 64 extend between end plates 9 and 11. The rear side wall 63 has an opening 66 therein through which the feed drawer 53 can reciprocate, the front side wall 64 being closed. The lower portion 67 of the front side wall 64 coverges in a downward direction substantially as shown. The side walls 63 and 64 in conjunction with the end walls 9 and 11 function as a funnel and guard structure to confine the packing material as it flows from the feed drawer 53 into the casing section 12, leakage of the packing material thus being minimized. The lower portion 67 of the front wall 64 acts as a diverter to further assist in distributing the packing material within the casing, the diverter 67 causing the packing material to be properly distributed into the hemi-cylindrical casing section 12 and up onto the adjacent flange 14 during operation of the machine. Use of a diverter 67 is not essential for successful operation of the machine but elimination of the diverter requires that the movable casing section 13 be capable of a much greater stroke to permit the flange 14 to be exposed to a greater extent so -as to insure proper distribution of the packing material in the casing section 12 and on the flange 14.

The power cylinders 22, 47 and 58 may be operated either manually or automatically in a predetermined sequence with a minimum effort on the part of the operator by means of a pneumatic or hydraulic control system. Such control systems are well 'known in the art and thus could also be incorporated into the present apparatus for control thereof. Furthermore, such a control system is shown in my copending application Ser. No. 243,044.

Operation Assuming for purposes of illustration that the device thus far described is to be used for packing small and flexible plants such as carnations into peat moss and then into a receptacle such as a paper bag, the hopper S will be appropriately supplied with peat moss, a supply of such plants will be placed on the table adjacent the end plate 11 and a supply of receptacles will be placed on the table adjacent the end plate 9. The trap 53 will be in the retracted position in the hopper as shown in FIGURE 3 while the casing sections will be in an open position as shown in FIGURE 4. The operator will, in starting the machine, actuate power cylinder 58 which causes the feed drawer 53 to extend outwardly from the hopper (rightwardly as shown in FIGURE 4) over the lower casing section 12. The opening 56 carries a predetermined amount of peat moss which is thus deposited into the open casing section. The opening 56 is sized so as to deposit enough packing material to completely ll both the upper and lower casing sections when they are in a closed position. The feed drawer 53 is then retracted into the hopper wherein the opening 56 is again filled with peat moss.

After the feed drawer 53 has been extended over the open casing section 12, the material contained in the opening 56 will fall therefrom through the funnel formed by the plates 9, 11, 63 and 64. The converging lower portion 67 of the front plate 64 will cause the majority of the packing material to fall leftwardly of the center of the lower casing section 12, thus depositing packing material both in the lower casing section 12 and onto the extending iiange 14. By proper design of the diverter system, approximately one-half of the packing material will be deposited into the semi-circular casing section 12 to essentially iill the same, with the remainder of the packing material spilling out of the casing section onto the ange 14. The operator, by means of the opening 36, will then lay a plant on the upper surface of the material which has been deposited in the lower casing section with the roots of the plant to the left of the end plate 11 and the upper part of the plant extending through the slot 39 and lying to the right of the end plate 11. The operator then places the opening of the receptacle over the guide cylinder 34.

The power cylinder 22 is now actuated to pivotally move the upper casing section 13 inwardly and downwardly into engagement with the lower casing section 12. As the upper casing section slides along the cylindrical surface 16 of the ange 14, the packing material deposited thereon is pushed into and over the packing material and plant previously deposited into the iixed casing section 12. The upper casing section 13 continues to move inwardly until it comes into abutting relationship with the lower fixed section 12. The closure of the casing sections thus forms the packing material therein around the plant with the plant substantially centered therein. Such centering is assured due to the fact that only approximately onehalf of the packing material was originally deposited into the lower casing section while the remainder of the packing material was deposited onto the flange 14.

The cylinder 47 is now energized to urge the pusher 38 forwardly (leftwardly in FIGURE l) by which the body of the packing material with the plant therein is urged axially of the closed casing sections 12 and 13 outwardly therefrom through the guide cylinder 34 into the receptacle C. The receptacle C with the packing material and plant therein can now be drawn olf from the guide cylinder 34 and the packing cycle is completed. Simultaneously therewith, or immediately thereafter, cylinder 22 is de-energized in the upward direction and energized in the downward direction to permit the piston to return to its original position, thereby retracting the upper casing section 13 to its original open position as shown in FIGURE 4. Cylinder 47 is likewise energized in the reverse direction to retract the pusher 38 into the starting position and the machine is ready for the energization of cylinder 58 and the commencement of another cycle.

Modification FIGURES 5 and 6 illustrate a modication of the basic machine described above. Since the modified machine utilizes the same basic frame structure, hopper structure and ram structure, the same reference numerals have been utilized to denote these elements as were used above.

Referring to FIGURES 5 and 6, there is shown a pair of arcuate casing sections 72 and 73 arranged between the end plates 9 and 11 for relative movement therebetween. The lower casing section 72 is generally fixed relative to the machine, hereby being connected to the end plates 9 and 11. T he lower casing section is also provided with a flange 74 extending from one edge thereof. The upper casing section 73 is mounted for pivotal and reciprocable movement in a direction which is generally upwardly and leftwardly relative to the lower casing section 72. Movement of the upper casing section 73 to a closed position causes the upper section to be brought into abutting relationship with the lower section 72. The casing sections are shown in their closed position in FIG- URE 5, while FIGURE 6 shows the casing sections in the open position.

The movable casing section 73 is moved by means of a link 77 connected thereto, which link is actuated by means of a power cylinder 81. The link 77 is connected at one end 78 thereof to the movable casing section 73, while the other end of the link 77 is connected to the piston rod of the power cylinder 81 by means of a pin 82 extending through the piston rod into a slot 83 located within the link 77. Power cylinder 81 is tixedly mounted relative to the frame of the machine and thus slot 83 compensates for the relative movement between link 77 and the power cylinder 81. Link 77 is further provided with a second slot 86 which coacts with a fixed cam roller 87 and a third slot 88 which coacts with another xed cam roller 89. Slot 86 is provided with parallel straight sides which coact with the cam roller 87 to guide the link 77 as it is moved inwardly and outwardly relative to the fixed casing section 12. On the other hand, slot 88 has a generally arcuate configuration and coacts with fixed cam roller .-89 to cause link 7-7 to pivot angularly about cam roller 87 as the link 77 is moved inwardly or outwardly relative to casing section 72 by means of the power cylinder `81. The link 77 may be guided in any convenient manner such as by a pair of plates 92 and 93 upstanding from the base 1, said plates being spaced apart sufficiently to receive said link 77 snugly and slideably therebetween. The cam rollers 87 and 89 are, in this embodiment, likewise mounted in one of said plates, such as the plate 92 for guidance of the link 77 as above set forth.

The operation of this embodiment is substantially similar to the operation of the embodiment shown in FIG- URES 3 and 4 as described above. After the packing material has been deposited intoy the open casing section 72 as shown in FIGURE 6, the power cylinder 81 is energized causing link 77 to be moved inwardly (rightwardly as shown in FIGURE 6). Slot 86 coacts with cam roller 87 to guide link 77 as it moves inwardly relative to the fixed casing section 72. However, as the link 77 is driven inwardly, cam roller 89 coacts wvith arcuate slot 88 to cause the link 77 to pivot about the fixed cam roller 87.

The pivotal movement of the link 77 causes the lower edge 91 of the movable casing section 73 to slide along the upper surface 76 of the ange 74, thus forcing any packing material deposited thereon into and over the packing material already deposited into the semi-circular portion of the lower casing section 72. Closure of the casing sections thus compresses the packing material into a cylindrical shape with the plant centrally located therein. The packing material and its associating plant is removed as described above and the power cylinder 81 is energized in a reversed direction to retract the movable casing section 73 into the open position before the start of another cycle.

Where the device is intended to fill relatively small pots in place of the sack-type containers C, a pot P may be placed over the end of the guide cylinder 34 land held in place, usually by hand, as indicated in broken lines in FIGURE 7. The apparatus and the rest of the operation of the device remain the same as above described.

It will be recognized that by this mechanism a single operator can pack a large number of items of nursery stock in a relatively short time, but that the device m-ay be changed readily with respect to the type of plant being packed, the type of packing material being used, and the type of container into which the packing is placed all without modification of the apparatus. Hence, this machine is particularly suited for handling relatively small quantities of a diversity of products and packing situations and will accomplish such packing both accurately and etliciently.

Further, the machine described is lof low cost both to build and to maintain. All power mechanisms and moving parts are located in a region which is remote from the packing material, thus eliminating the contamination and clogging of the movable parts. Thus, very little cleaning and maintenance of the machine is required, time spent -for repair thus being held to a. minimum resulting in the most efficient utilization of the machine.

The machine described is furthermore well adapted for varying degrees of automation which may be 'applied thereto. For example, any or all of the air cylinders 22, 47 and 58 may be eliminated and the operations performed thereby may be readily carried out by hand upon the application of suitable handles to the rod 41, shuttle 57, and casing section .13. Suitable conveyors may be provided both for supplying plants and containers toI the machine and for removing packed containers away from the machine. Hence, the machine, though simple, is eX- tremely versatile and the single basic machine may be widely adapted to many specific packing conditions and requirements.

Although particular preferred embodiments have been described above for illustrative purposes, it will be recognized that variations or modifications of such disclosure which lie within the scope of the appended claims Iare fully contemplated.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are dened as follows:

1. A packing device, primarily for nursery stock, comprising in combination:

a frame;

a pair of substantially horizontal casing sections comprising la lower arcuate casing section and an upper arcuate casing section, said casing sections when in abutting relationship defining a substantially cylindrical casing member;

means for iixedly mounting said lower casing section relative to the frame whereby the inner arcuate surface thereof opens upwardly in the vertical direction;

closure control means for effecting pivotal movement of said upper casing section between an opened position in which said upper casing section is outwardly spaced from the lower section and a closed position in which said casing sections face and abut each other and define a generally cylindrical packing space;

ange means xedly positioned adjacent one longitudinal edge of said lower casing section and extending substantially the full length thereof, said flange means extending outwardly away from said lower casing section at an angle relative to the vertical direction; and

reciprocable ram means positioned Iadjacent one longitudinal end of said lower casing section and aligned with the packing space defined by said casing sections when they are in said closed position, and means for effecting reciprocation of said ram means into and out of said packing space so that when the casing sections are in their opened position packing material may be deposited in the lower casing section and then said upper casing section can be moved to its closed position in order to shape said packing material into a generally cylindrical shape, following which said ram means may be moved lengthwise through said packing space to discharge the packing material therefrom. v

2. A packing device according to claim l1, further including feed means for depositing packing material into said opened lower casing. section, said feed means depositing in one operation a predetermined quantity of packing material suicient to ll both the upper and lower casing sections whenthey are in the closed position, the feed means depositing substantially one-half the packing material in the opened lower casing section with the remainder of the material being deposited on the extending ange means, whereby movement of the upper casing section to the closed position causes the material deposited on the flange means to be folded over and into the cylindrical casing.

3. A packing device according to claim 1, in which said flange means is of a nonplanar configuration, and in which said closure control means includes a link means for pivotally moving said upper casing section between said open and closed positions, said upper casing section slideably engaging the upper surface of said extending flange means when said casing section is moved from the open to the closed position whereby the upper casing section causes `any packing material deposited on the flange means to be folded over into the lower casing section.

4. A packing device according to claim 3, in which said link means includes a lever and a pivot pivotally connecting said lever to said frame, said pivot being located at an elevation below the longitudinal axis of said cylindrical packing space, and said lever being coupled to said upper casing section.

S. A packing device according to claim 4, wherein said lever constitutes a bell crank with the pivot being located at the hub of said crank, said bell crank having a rst arm which is rigidly attached to the movable casing section at one end thereof and a second arm which is adapted to be actuated by a power means at the other end thereof.

6. A packing device according to claim 3, wherein said link means includes a link member which contains an arcuate slot therein, said arcuate slot coacting with a lixed cam roller whereby movement of the link member causes the link member and its lassociated upper casing section to be pivotally moved from the opened to closed position.

7. A packing device according to claim 6, in which the link member additionally contains a straight slot which coacts with a second fixed cam roller, said straight slot permitting the link member and the upper casing section carried thereby to be moved inwardly yand outwardly relative to the xed lower casing section while said arcuate slot simultaneously causes the link member and the upper casing section to pivotally move about the second xed cam roller so as to move the upper casing section from an open to a closed position.

8. A packing device according to claim 2, wherein said feed means includes a hopper containing a supply of packing material therein and means associated with said hopper for receiving said predetermined quantity of pack- References Cited ing material from said hopper and -for depositingsame .in- UNITED STATES PATENTS to the opened lower casing sectlon, and further mcludlng guide Wall means disposed between said last-mentioned 3,008,279 11/1961 Wellff means and said lower casing section for causing approxi- 5 3:0551153 9/1962 Romme 53"-124 mately one-half of said predetermined quantity of packing material to be deposited in said lower casing section and TRAVIS S MCGEHEE Primary Exammer' for causing the remainder of said predetermined quantity U S C1 X R of packing material to be `deposited onto the upper sur- -face of said flange means. 10 53-124; 10U-233, 269

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3008279 *Oct 16, 1959Nov 14, 1961Weller John APackaging machine
US3055153 *Aug 17, 1959Sep 25, 1962Greening Nursery CompanyTree wrapping machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3521553 *May 16, 1968Jul 21, 1970Smolka KurtApparatus for compressing garbage
US5830683 *Oct 24, 1996Nov 3, 1998North American Science Associates, Inc.Indicator systems for determination of sterilization
US5989852 *Nov 2, 1998Nov 23, 1999North American Science AssociatesIndicator systems for determination of sterilization
Classifications
U.S. Classification100/232, 100/233, 53/529
International ClassificationB65B25/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65B25/02
European ClassificationB65B25/02